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“Bitterly disappointed”

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Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Fawkham
Reviewed 15 May 2012

Having stayed in other HandPicked Hotels, we were very excited about our stay at Brandshatch Place. You can hear the nearby race track which was a little disappointing and some investment in improved windows may aid the reduction in this noise; however, to be honest, we didn't find it too overwhelming.

During our stay we had two major issues; firstly relating to the spa facilities and secondly in relation to dinner... which is a real pity as we booked this hotel as it had a spa and we find the Dinner, Bed and breakfast package to be very good value and the dining experience to be ordinarily very good within this chain of hotel.

The spa, gym, pool and changing rooms appear to be incredibly dated and compare dreadfully to other hotels in the chain; Rookery Hall for instance is superb. We were left bitterly disappointed with this facility and spent very little time in the spa resulting in an afternoon watching the television in our room.

Our room was fine; it wasn't luxury and nor was it up to the standard we had experienced in other hotels in the chain. There were obvious signs of 'wear and tear'... scuff marks on walls and skirting, stains on curtains and grouting in the bathroom and limescale around the shower head. Although none of these things are individually hugely offensive, I think combined show that the hotel could do with a little TLC. The same could be said of the hallways, particularly the route to the spa and leisure facilities from the hotel; this appeared to be more like a staff short-cut rather than a guest thoroughfare and I think immediately dampens any expectations of the hotel.

The other disappointing feature we encountered was dinner, which became a little laughable. I don't class myself as being particularly demanding or high maintenance, but I expect service to be of a certain level, and this unfortunately wasn't the case here. With dinner booked for 8.30pm, we arrive in the bar early for pre-dinner drinks and let staff know we had arrived. We had drinks in the room adjacant to the bar where it appeared guests were congregating and it had to be one of the most lifeless rooms I have ever been in. There was no atmosphere and almost silence as everyone appeared conscious that we could all hear each other's conversations. A little background music, and possibly the absence of staff preparing other adjacant rooms for a function and instead focussing on their attending guests may have helped.

With our dinner reservation approaching and no sign of a menu being offered I asked if we could see one... twice. On finally receiving the menu we were given very little explanation (which would have been helpful as there were two menus and we were on a Dinner package so we would have liked to have known our options) and only discovered the unavailability of certain items due to overhearing other people (in the very unatmospheric and quiet room) trying to order these things... it sounded like we were not the only ones who were not given any information about the menu.

The canapes we were offered were dreadful... again, compared to experiences elsewhere these appeared to be a last minute afterthought or left-overs from a function. Desperately disappointing.

At 8.45 we decided we would go and ask to be seated as we had not been approached (15 minutes after our reservation) and it was clear to see that the unprofessional (or untrained) manner of staff was still apparent. Our table wasn't fully cleaned and we had to ask for a wine list as well as ask a number of questions about the menu. At one point we had two waiters at our table, one trying to pour wine and getting all of his words muddled up and the other trying to write down our order which became a painstakingly overcomplicated process.

To be honest, our food wasn't too bad... it was better than I expected considering the issues we had encountered with the service. To top it all, at the end of our meal we asked for two small glasses of wine... two large glasses arrived to which I pointed out we only asked for two small glasses... I was then informed that he had already poured them and misconstrued that I had an issue with the glassware and not the size of the wine portion. This was cleared up by me accepting the drinks but informing him we would only be paying for two small glasses... I think this bypassed his intelligence but needless to say we were only charged for what we ordered and was further evidence of some sort of service training being required.

The hotel is quite handily placed for a trip to BlueWater but I have to say we were bitterly disappointed with our stay overall. The hotel lacked atmosphere and there appeared to be a real lack of professionalism amongst the staff, and highlighted huge training needs in my opinion. (even the receptionist on check-out didn't respond or attempt to find out more as we responded to her parting question of whether we had a nice time). Having been personally, and known others who have attended other HandPicked hotels, the Branshatch Place Hotel and Spa really didn't come up to scratch.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank thoughtfulphil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 May 2012

Haed a great two nights here recently, we where going to a wedding (Not at the hotel but near) the first night we had dinner and it was great. food was lovely and Kenny in the restaurant looked after us brilliantly, we got up early next day had a swim then headed for a late breakfast before going to our friends wedding. we left the kids at home but you can see it is also family friendly so we might take them if we return! (and if they are good!) room was nice with all the things you would expect and just what we needed. the only negative was my wife wanted to carry on drinking in the residents bar when we got back from the wedding so she missed breakfast the next day and I did all the driving home! she never learns!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Dad2work
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew_Oxby, General Manager at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2012

Thank you for your review on Trip Advisor.

I was pleased to read that you had an enjoyable two night stay with us and that you singled out Kenny for a special mention. I will certainly convey these kind words along with your compliments for the food to Carl our new head chef.

I look forward to welcoming you back to Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa in the very near future, and of course bring the children along, when we will assure you all the very best attention.

Best wishes

Andrew Oxby

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Reviewed 30 April 2012

My boyfriend and I booked a night away at Brandhatch via SecretEscapes. From the website it looked fabulous and we thought we were getting an excellent deal of dinner in the 2 AA rosette resturant and breakfast the next morning... this was not the case!
Upon first arriving at the hotel we were very pleasantly surprised; the staff were friendly, the hotel was beautiful and the grounds were picturesque. When we went to our room it was large, clean and comfortable. We ordered room service as we hadn't eaten anything all morning and the sandwiches were simply delicious which, of course, set our expectations for the meal ahead of us that evening. The only slight niggle was the slightly undercooked and cold chips but we weren't deterred by this.
After settling in and exploring the facilities a little we got ready for dinner; the receptionist had informed us as we checked in that the restaurant was fully booked until 9pm but we weren't bothered as we usually like to eat late. We were greeted by the staff and shown to our table in the middle of the restaurant. The staff were quick to take our order and serve our canapes and complimentary soup but then left us for an age before our starters arrived. The boy who was serving our starters seemed to be new and brought them into the room 3 times to 3 other tables before settling them at ours, despite the fact that we were the only table in the room without food! He didn't even clear the soup and canapes away either before or after he delivered the food but simply left us to it - shocking!
The starters were bland to say the least, no flavour whatsoever. I had the rilette of Salmon which looked like tinned salmon that had been placed into a bowl and my boyfriend had the confit of duck which was a slab of meat with little else. However we laughed it off and continued.
Our mains arrived and they were no better. My boyfriend had ordered the lamb and, at the time, had been told that it would be served medium as this was how it came. Believe me, it was not medium! It was pretty much rare and cold, the side mash potato he ordered was also cold and incredibly salty. The 'mash' potato I had with my black bream was hard and lumpy from where it had not been mashed properly - utter disaster! Not only this but the house wine we had been given as part of our meal deal was simply undrinkable.
Dessert was the only saving grace of the meal; my boyfriend had the passionfruit cheesecake which was lovely however my treacle tart was, again, tasteless and completely overpowered by the lemon meringue ice cream that accompanied it. We had to laugh really at the state of this restaurant considering it claimed to be 2 AA rosettes. Not only was the food dire but throughout the evening tables were left with dirty crockery and napkins on them from the last clients to have used them and the staff genuinely didn't seem interested in making sure we were happy. Little things like this go such a long way! I even saw one of the waiters putting fresh glasses on a table but carrying them with his thumbs inside the glasses to the table - not very hygenic at all.
After dinner we decided to unwind by having a drink at the bar. The barman, Andy, was very pleasant and sold us a lovely Pinot Noir that we promptly took up to our room and consumed to dampen the memories of the evening!!!
In the morning we had requested that we had room service for breakfast at 10am, this never arrived. After 15 minutes of waiting we decided to call it a day, check out as quickly as possible and find somewhere to have breakfast on the way home. When we checked out the Food and Beverage manager apologised for breakfast not arriving but stated that 'everyone comes into the restaurant at 10am on a Sunday and everyone wants room service at 10am on a Sunday.' If this is the case then I would have expected them to at least have the courtesy to call and inform us it was going to be a little late or even say to us when we requested it at the time that 10am is a particularly busy time and could they recommend an alternative for us? Quite frankly I think that if you know you're going to be busy on a Sunday morning then you ensure that you have provisioned additional staff or set things in place to avoid simple issues such as this.
So, it was not one major issue that failed this hotel last weekend but a series of little oversights that are so simple to avoid and manage. However, as a result of these problems I can 100% state that we will not be going back to Brandshatch again or, indeed, any Handpicked Hotel if this is how they are run.
Shame, it had started off so nicely...

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Lavra2311
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew_Oxby, General Manager at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2012

Thank you for taking the time to post your review on Trip Advisor, and even more so for taking the time to speak with us following your recent stay. I am sorry that certain standards fell short on this particular occasion, we aim to exceed our guests' expectations and I am truly sorry that on this occasion this was not the case, please accept my personal and sincere apologies for this.

I was pleased to hear that after speaking with you, you will be returning to us where I am confident that you will enjoy a wholly positive level of food quality and service throughout your stay.

Kindest regards
Andrew Oxby

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Reviewed 28 April 2012

We stopped off on the way to Brugges from Wales - directions on the web were not acurate so difficult to find
The hotel had no atmosphere, a large glass of wine was £13.95 !!!!
Evening meal and breakfast was very good
The double bed was a split bed and one section was soft the other hard
Room was ok but a bit tired
This hotel is well suited for coroporate but not for a special occassion
We also had to keep the windows closed to avoid the noise from the M20

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Glen39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew_Oxby, General Manager at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2012

Thank you very much for your recent stay and for posting your review on Tripadvisor with your constructive comments. I am pleased that you enjoyed your evening meal and that you thought the breakfast was very good. I am sorry however that you felt that the bed was uneven and the bedroom was a bit tired, we do have a maintenance and re-decoration program in place and we are imminently replacing a number of our beds to which I will ensure this is addressed. Thank you for your recent stay and I hope we have the pleasure in welcoming you back to Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa again in the future.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Oxby

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Reviewed 27 April 2012

We stayed here to celebrate my husband's birthday. The hotel has extensive grounds and a wonderful spa and facilities attached to it. We arrived at the hotel early but spent a very relaxing time in the lounge area prior to our room being ready. We were upgraded to an Executive Room free of charge and the room was absolutely beautiful. Decorated in georgian style with wonderful kingsize bed. We really did have a superb dinner and despite choosing the Table D'Hote menu we were not disappointed. Ernest gave superb, second to none, personal service during dinner and Andy was very entertaining in the bar and certainly understands his wine. The food was delicious. We ordered champagne breakfast to be served in our room - it arrived on time, extremely well presented, hot and best of all no tray charge. I would certainly recommend this hotel, it was a wonderful experience and we will definitely return. Thank you to all the staff for such an enjoyable stay.

Room Tip: Arrive early and spend some time using the spa and facilities.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank lisylouHerneBay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew_Oxby, General Manager at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 10 May 2012

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on Trip Advisor; it is really appreciated. I was delighted to read that you had such a wonderful experience and enjoyable stay with us to celebrate your husbands birthday. I have passed on your very kind comments to my colleagues, in particular to Ernest and Andy from the food and beverage team. I am pleased that you would recommend the hotel and we look forward to you returning to us soon.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Oxby
General Manager

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Reviewed 26 April 2012

Please find below, a copy of a letter that I have sent to the above-named hotel after a one-night stay.
I hope that your readers may find it useful when considering this hotel.

Mr & Mrs Cross
1 Bombay Street
Bermondsey
London
SE16 3UX
Date: 26th April 2012
My husband and I were so looking forward to are staying at the Handpicked Hotel, “THE BRANDSHATCH PLACE HOTEL & SPA” on the 21st - 22nd April 2012.
We received the confirmation of booking within a few days, specifying a 3pm check-in and 11am check-out with dining arrangements to be made at reception on arrival, although on Friday evening at 8pm we received a call informing us that dinner would be at 8.30pm which was acceptable
On arrival at 3pm we were told the room was not ready, they would find us when it was and where to find the bar .We told the receptionist she would find us outside.
We then proceeded to the bar, which was extremely busy due to a function in another room, [a baby naming] and found only one person serving. Whilst we waited to be served, the barman was asked by a guest, from said function room, for some serviettes and he stopped what he was doing to go and tell someone before we were eventually served two Bacardi and cokes, one extremely small bottle of coke actually, which came to a whopping £9.65p. This was not only for the pleasure of waiting for a drink but to be charged top prices and also having to wait for the room to be ready we were not pleased to say the least. Not a very good first impression I must say.
So we then proceeded with our expensive drinks in hand outside to await being called for our room, did I mention we were paying for this treatment. Sadly this did not happen, unbelievable wouldn’t you say. So after 25-30 minutes we returned to reception where the same lady who greeted us and took our credit card details, asked us, once again, if she could help us. Shockingly, it was obvious she had forgotten who we were, on a good point the room was ready at last. She escorted us to room 38, which was deemed to be a junior suite and inviting us to make use of the available facilities, pool, etc., which we promptly did.
We made our way down to the spa where we signed in and were given towels and told to follow the signs to the pool, which we did where we entered the changing rooms, changed into swim suits, only to find that no-one had thought to mention about the £1 coin which was required for the lockers. Ok, so we take our belongings with us to leave by the pool that was irritating for us. We get into the pool only to get quickly out again upon seeing how dirty the water was – cloudy, lots of hair floating around but the rat droppings on the side of the pool was just too much.
We then found the steam room, etc., by asking another of your guests as we were not told. We had a sauna and steam, then into the Jacuzzi where we found, once the jets stopped, the water appeared dirty as well.
I returned to the ladies changing room and it then hits me just how disorganised this “alleged” spa is. Let me say if I were to be given a gift to visit that spa I would be insulted. The dirty towels were piled high, I mean up to my head and I am 5-10. The shower had hair all over the floor, dirty tiles, discarded paper on toilet floor. I really was not impressed.
I use a Greenwich leisure centre every day and have to say they outdo the “spa” by at least 110% on cleanliness.

Moving on, we returned to our room after taking a drink in the sports bar of which the service there, surprisingly, excellent. We had planned to watch TV and change for dinner. Alas, this was not to be as the TV was not working, I called reception to inform them of the problem and they asked if I would like someone to sort the problem out, [well of course I would, why was I calling]. Five minutes later a member of staff came. Well, someone from the bar staff arrived to sort the problem out, in vain as it turned out. While he attempted this he asked how we were enjoying our stay. I replied how disappointed we were, outlining the problems. He, in return, said how sorry he was on behalf of the hotel and he would go directly to the spa and speak to the manager and would like to offer a complimentary drink.
Being people who observe etiquette we went down to dinner at 8:10 pm, dressed as is befitting for your 2 AA rosette dining room, only to find there was no dress code, jeans and trainers are the norm. However, we received our complimentary drinks while being told we will not have to wait long. Unfortunately this was not the case. 9pm arrived with no sign of a table. Another of your guests requested hors-d’ oeuvres, which we also received. Remember, our reservation was for 8:30pm .There is no sign of the maitre d’. 9.15pm arrives while we are still waiting. During this time nobody apologised, placated or pacified us. One would have expected more.
9.30pm we were seated and still no apology, excuses, or maitre d’, but as it turned out the chef was the redeeming feature, the food was excellent.
We retired to bed at this stage. I will point out that the designation as a junior suite I found quite dismal and untrue. A small window with not much natural light, a bulb out in the ceiling light. The room was dusty, the shower door had black mould, none of the tap fittings were even polished.
This may all seem trivial but to a paying guest it is important.

In the morning, we had an excellent breakfast and we then returned to our room to check-out. Really, we cannot wait to leave all this behind us. Reception called saying the duty manager would like to talk to us. Though it was the duty manager of the spa he was concerned about our complaints even though he was not involved with the running of the hotel itself he sympathised with our complaints and took notes. At no time did the General manger appear.

To sum up, this was not an experience I would like to repeat. It felt like the staff were doing us a favour and we were in the way. In a welcome letter from the manager, Andrew Oxby, it stated “Whilst you are here we would like you to treat our hotel as home from home. Our aim is to provide you with a peaceful, relaxing, and memorable stay”
Well, it was memorable. I didn’t think places like this existed any more, we travel extensively throughout the world and have never had such an experience and paid £326.00 for the pleasure. It goes without saying we will not be visiting any of these so called “Handpicked Hotels” again. I suggest whoever picked this particular one should try washing their hands.
As I wrote on the comment card, “Very, Very, Very, Disappointed”. I hope you acknowledge this letter as we have received no response from hotel replying to the comment card.

Yours faithfully
Helen Cross

Room Tip: Look at somewhere else!
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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11  Thank Steven C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew_Oxby, General Manager at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 May 2012

Dear Mrs Cross,

Thank you for taking the time to put in writing your comments following your recent stay at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, and please accept my personal and sincere apologies for your disappointing experience with us. I am sorry that certain standards fell short on this particular occasion, we always endeavour to exceed our guests' expectations and I am truly sorry that on this occasion this was not the case, please accept my apologies for the issues you have raised, and my assurance that your observations and comments will be addressed. We are in receipt of your letter and we will be in contact with you directly.

Yours sincerely
Andrew Oxby

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Reviewed 22 April 2012

Would recommend this hotel for a weekend in Kent, close to many NT properties. food excellent, and staff amazing. thank you

  • Stayed: April 2012
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Thank sandraChelmsford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andrew_Oxby, General Manager at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 24 April 2012

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post a review, and for your recommendation. I was delighted to read that you enjoyed a great weekend break away with us. With many National Trust properties not too far away we really do feel that this is a great place to stay when you are looking to experience and explore Kent, 'The Garden of England'.

I was pleased to read that you thought the food was excellent and that the staff were amazing, we hope that we can look forward to welcoming you back again in the very near future.

Kindest regards
Andrew Oxby

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Additional Information about Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa

Address: Brands Hatch Road, Fawkham DA3 8NQ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Kent > Sevenoaks District > Fawkham
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Fawkham
Price Range: £78 - £147 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This sophisticated Georgian mansion, built in 1806, is the perfect venue for weddings as well as meetings, events and private dining. Thirty eight beautifully furnished rooms offer all the latest modern amenities - and when you have finished resting, you are welcome to drop in at the Health Club and Spa, a great place to work out, relax or unwind. Despite its rural location, it is within easy reach of major motorways and London, as well as Gatwick and Heathrow airports, the south coast and the Channel Tunnel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Brandshatch Place Fawkham
Hotel Brandshatch Place
Brand Hatch Hotel Place
Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa Kent/Fawkham

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